Epson should have called the Artisan all-in-one the “Intern” instead — it works that hard to please. It’s up on all the latest technology, surprises with nifty tricks; and while it isn’t exactly cheap, for what it does it’s a bargain. And unlike that sloppy, kind of half-working old printer with coffee-stained teeth you hired ages ago, Epson’s new beauty is snappily dressed, fast and reliable.
The 710 is the little brother of Epson’s two overhauled siblings, and is an update of last year’s 700. We picked it because it keeps most of the pair’s great features, with a list price just a little over half that of its even more feature-laden brother, the 810 (although since we received our 710 tester, prices on the 810 have plunged considerably).
Arguably, the coolest feature of the Artisan 710 is its ability to print wirelessly over wifi. But I have to admit, knowing the printer had this feature made me groan a little when setup time rolled around. I needn’t have worried — connecting the printer to my MacBook and my router was painless (Epson also made it abundantly clear that, because I had Snow Leopard, I needed to download the driver from their website rather than use the included install disk; props to the marketing dept. for clarity). Once set up, printing wirelessly from my laptop worked flawlessly. Bonus: There’s also an app at the iTunes store that’ll let you print wirelessly from your iPhone.
Print quality simply floored me. The test photos I printed were very, very close to lab quality, and the 710 pops them out extremely quickly — I was able to print 4×6 photos, at maximum resolution, in an impressive 20 seconds from hitting the “print” key. Printing letter-sized paper is likewise done in rapid manner, about 30 black & white pages/minute at draft quality.
Paper-handling duties are shouldered by a dual-level paper tray that stacks regular and photo paper for easy switching, and a removable duplex-roller for double-sided printing at the printer’s rear, a luxury not often seen on printers at this level. Another rare feature is a DVD tray that allows printing directly onto special DVDs with printable surfaces (currently made only by Maxell).
Correction: Any printable DVDs/CDs (eg. those made by Verbatim, Memorex, Imation, TDK and others) should work just fine.
On top of all this, the 710 packs a dizzying array of nifty little tricks: onboard photo editing and color restoration of old-timey looking photos of your parents, printing lined paper notebook paper (weird), printing coloring book pages from actual photos, (really cool if you have kids, or just a lot of time on your hands), and of course all the usual stuff like photo borders, etc. The printer will even let you charge gadgets from its USB port. In fact, there are so many options, the menu system becomes a little intimidating at times.
If all that still isn’t enough, the 710’s big brother, the Artisan 810, adds fax capability, a higher-resolution scanner, a gorgeous touch-screen interface and a 30-page automatic document feeder — all for about $200 street.